I never would have considered myself a “sniper” prior to a few weeks ago. Now, I’m no Lee Harvey Oswald, but I’m now forced to acknowledge that I am, indeed, a “sniper” since I heard the word used some weeks ago to contrast Yahoo! Auctions and eBay. I never knew there was a term for the practice of waiting until the last few seconds to make a bid on an auction. I always figured it was just common sense to wait until as close as possible to the last second to place a bid. At least that’s how I’ve always done it. Apparently this isn’t how it’s done on Yahoo! Auctions though. I, of course, not being a user of Yahoo! Auctions, don’t know for certain if that’s true since, even if more sellers did ship internationally, I don’t have a Japanese credit card and most sellers don’t accept PayPal. I suppose if an eBay auction ended in the middle of the night or during a time when I’m without Internet access I would bid whenever I could, but usually I’m able to bid when there are only a few seconds left.
That’s why it so frustrating when eBay kicks you off because of this glitch I’ve noticed. Granted, it’s possible it’s something to do with my browser settings about cookies, but I prefer to think that it’s eBay’s fault and I’m blameless because I prefer deluding myself to acknowledging my shortcomings. There were about ten seconds left in an auction for a 160GB laptop hard drive and the price was only USD 16. I had finally tasted success and had zombied together some parts I’d had lying about for months into a functional PS3 so I needed a hard drive for it. The nice part was that, rather than requiring a costly power supply replacement as I had initially supposed (~ USD 30), the system just needed a power switch replacement (the thing to which you connect the AC adapter which cost me only USD 1). This was perfect. The glitch, however, occurs when you open an auction page after your login has partially expired. That is, your username still appears at the top of the page and, if the item is in your watchlist, it will still appear in blue, but it’s been long enough since you logged in that, when you try to place a bid, eBay will ask you to enter your password. At least, this is how it’s supposed to work. However, if, while you have the auction page open, you open another browser tab and visit a different page within eBay and do something that requires you to enter your password in the new tab (such as visit “My eBay”) then, when you go back to the first tab to bid, instead of letting the bid go through or prompting you for your password, you get logged out of eBay immediately, without explanation.
This is what the expression “kick in the teeth” was invented for.